Artist: Mankind Liberation Front
Album: MLF (Unreleased outside of promos)
Appears On: Thirteen Ugly Children Roll Gutterballs
Song Notes: This week, a couple of tracks from a CD I'd been looking for for some time but finally found—and I found it for a dollar! I'd first heard it at my college radio station; we had a copy, and I loved the single ("Center of the Universe") and I borrowed the full-length, and really dug that as well. I think I borrowed it a handful of times through my career there, but I never found a copy to own. And, hey, "Found" is the right word—one of the things you find out from working in radio is that there's a lot of complete albums (artwork and EVERYTHING) that never get released, and this is one of them. (There were a few others I recall; we had a copy of Nada Surf's The Proximity Effect -- the one on Elektra, not the one that came out a few years later on an indie—I thought it was OK, but not great; "Stockholm Love" the teaser single for the much-delayed Volumizer by 2 Skinnee J's -- excellent song that inexplicably ended up not being on there when Volumizer finally came out on a different label; and Freelance Bubblehead by 1000 Clowns -- which I also came across the same day, but declined to get; I liked "Kitty Kat Max", but the entire thing seemed a little... eh. Also, the copy I found didn't have any artwork, so...).
Anyway, though The Mankind Liberation Front was two people on this album (they added a third later), Ran Pink and Herwig Maurer. The album is sort of dance-pop with a lot of influences in hip-hop, dub and rock (and would sound something like Soul Coughing at times). Oddly enough, from what I'd seen, it was pretty well reviewed upon the release of the promo copies, but for some reason it never came out, aside from a couple of singles (which I think were actually released outside of promo copies; I've got a promo CD of the "Center Of The Universe" EP) and the track "Dopedreams", which appeared on the soundtrack to Grass. Apparently, they released another album (Automind), now credited as their Debut, although that also seems to be out of print, and was released on an indie (instead of this one, which was on BMG). No idea why this album ended up being shelved, other than for the standard inexplicable reasons. As I said, plenty of albums get shelved like this—it's the rare ones that actually have much of a story behind it, other than record company people being jerks. It's always baffling though, considering that it seems the discs were already pressed in this case (there's no difference that I can tell between the promo editions and what I would assume would be the release edition aside from a small "not for sale" sticker).
Despite the first album coming out, it doesn't look like the new one, Automind, actually has any duplicated tracks, although one is subtitled "Isolated Part II". I haven't heard any of the new album, though, so I don't know if anything may have been retooled for it, but it doesn't look like it. - Rev. Syung Myung Me